The enormous rocket at the heart of NASA’s mission to return humans to the moon is being rolled out of its hangar today. After a series of issues and poor weather thwarted the first two launch attempts, the agency has spent weeks troubleshooting and is now gearing up for another attempt to get the rocket off the ground.
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Elon Musk will begin laying off Twitter employees this morning, according to a memo sent to staff, as several employees sue the billionaire alleging the layoffs are in violation of labor law. An email sent Thursday evening notified employees that they will receive a notice by 12 p.m. ET today that informs them of their employment status. The memo comes after previous reports said Musk had planned to lay off up to half of the company’s staff after acquiring it last week for $44 billion. Twitter had around 7,500 employees prior to Musk’s takeover. He started his tenure at Twitter by firing its CEO and two other executives, according to two people familiar with the decision. Musk also dissolved Twitter’s former board of directors.
Health officials are reinforcing their recommendations for people to get flu vaccines as this year’s strain picks up its pace across the US. There have been at least 880,000 cases of influenza, nearly 7,000 hospitalizations and 360 deaths from the flu so far this fall – including one pediatric death – according to data from the CDC. The numbers also show there haven’t been this many cases of influenza so early in the season since 2009. After recently receiving Covid-19 vaccines and boosters, some people have been waiting until later in the season to get the flu vaccine, CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen said. However, since it takes about two weeks to reach optimal immune protection after receiving a flu vaccination, people who haven’t gotten one yet should do so now.
3. January 6
The House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the US Capitol has interviewed more Secret Service witnesses, including the head of former Vice President Mike Pence’s detail. The committee is also expected to interview at least another half dozen Secret Service witnesses in the coming weeks, including current and former officials and agents, multiple sources told CNN. The panel’s efforts to secure testimony from an expanding list of current and former Secret Service agents during the closing months of its probe shows the committee is intensifying its push to learn more about what the Secret Service knew about looming threats to Pence and other government officials ahead of the attack.
4. Student loans
President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness program remains on hold while a federal appeals court considers a legal challenge brought by six Republican-led states. The Biden administration is still accepting applications for student loan forgiveness, which is worth up to $20,000 per borrower, but it is not currently allowed to cancel student loan debt until the hold is removed. The Biden administration is also facing lawsuits from an attorney general and conservative groups that claim he does not have the legal authority to broadly cancel student loan debt. As for what happens next, an appeals court will decide whether to grant a preliminary injunction requested by the states. If granted, the student loan forgiveness program could be kept on hold while the court hears from both parties. If it’s not granted, debt cancellation may begin while the appeal plays out. The ruling could come at any time.
5. Brittney Griner
US Embassy officials visited detained WNBA basketball star Brittney Griner in Russia on Thursday and “saw firsthand her tenacity and perseverance despite her present circumstances,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement. They had not been able to visit Griner since early August but spoke with her by phone last month. After months of internal debate, the Biden administration previously offered to exchange a convicted Russian arms trafficker serving a 25-year US prison sentence as part of a potential deal to secure the release of Griner and Paul Whelan, who has been detained in a remote prison camp in Russia on espionage charges since 2018. US officials say they have continued to follow up on their offer and emphasized that the Americans’ detentions remain a top priority.
Kyrie Irving apologizes amid Twitter controversy and suspension by Brooklyn Nets
The NBA star apologized on Instagram late Thursday, hours after the Nets announced a five-game suspension over his “failure to disavow antisemitism.”
Netflix launches a new plan with ads
After much anticipation, the platform’s cheaper plan with ads debuted in the US on Thursday. Here’s how it differs from existing plans.
Miller Lite is selling a Christmas tree stand that doubles as a beer keg
Beer lovers are taking “holiday cheers” to a new level… This product was designed to “make it seem as if beer is being poured from the tree,” a company spokesman said.
Jay-Z and Jeff Bezos are interested in buying the Washington Commanders together
The two billionaire businessmen already have major sports ties. Now, they’re in talks on a possible joint venture to buy an NFL team.
Iranian artist’s paintings of women take on a new sense of urgency
These symbol-laden paintings are charged with emotion and allude to issues that have recently sparked protests across Iran.
Which “extremely rare” item is expected to fetch up to $30 million at an upcoming auction?
A. George Washington’s journal
B. Key to the White House
C. First-edition copy of the US Constitution
D. Original senate gavel
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That’s the typical age of a first-time homebuyer in the US in 2022, up from 33 last year. A new report from the National Association of Realtors shows that first-time buyers made up just 26% of all homebuyers in the year ending in June – an all-time low over approximately four decades. Financial analysts say many factors have made it a challenging environment for Millennials and Gen Zers to remain competitive in the market, including rising home prices, climbing mortgage rates, and the fact that younger generations have less cash saved for a down payment.
“Violence has no place in politics.”
– White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, condemning the reported assassination attempt on Thursday of Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan. The country’s ex-leader was shot in the leg at a political rally outside the town of Gujranwala, Punjab province, Pakistani officials said. He was transported to Lahore to receive treatment and was in stable condition. An unnamed man suspected of firing shots at the rally has been detained, according to police. Khan has repeatedly claimed, without any evidence, that the US was behind his loss of power after he was ousted as Prime Minister in a no-confidence vote in April.
Indoor ocean simulator
The US Navy is testing its equipment in a massive pool that can replicate any wave situation in the world. Take a look inside. (Click here to view)